We’ve Been Matched!
If you come around here much, you know that we are in the process of adopting through the foster care system. Since we have some exciting news to share, I thought I’d give you an update on where we are in the process. It’s going to be a little long, so maybe get yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, and settle in…
We’ve completed the training classes, finished our home study, and have been searching for the newest member of our family through different avenues. Some of the ways we have searched has been through our case workers, the internet, Heart Galleries across the state of Florida, and a few weeks ago we went to our first recruitment event with a local agency. A recruitment event is where they have families that have been approved for adoption come to a function and meet some of the kids that are currently looking for forever families. These are usually activities such as bowling, skating, or a field day/bbq like the one we went to. We weren’t having much luck. I think I said before that we originally were looking for a boy, younger than our son but not younger than about 8 years old. But we had no luck finding anyone that would match well with what our family could offer vs. what kind of family the child/children were looking for and/or needed. We were getting discouraged.
Fortunately, we had been so busy with the renovations at the new house, that we weren’t entirely consumed by the search. I think if we hadn’t been busy to the point of exhaustion, we would have been going a little crazy with the “waiting for a match” part of the process.
Then a couple of weeks ago, our case worker called us to clarify who/what we were looking for. We told her that we were widening our search, and were basically open to hearing about any new children that were (basically) healthy, younger than our son (but not infants or toddlers, although we preferred that they be around 8 at the youngest) and needing a family. She asked if we would consider girls. We said yes. She asked if we would consider siblings. We said yes. She said okay, I’ll update your file and keep you informed of any potential matches. That was it. We went back to waiting.
Then about a week later, she called and asked if we would be interested in two sisters, ages 6 & 8. (This was the first time they had called us with a potential match, versus us emailing them to ask about a child we found online.) We said “tell us more…” And she did. She gave us some background, answered our questions and told us to think about it and get back to her. We did talk about it all night. And the next morning. And then we called her to say we were interested.
Unfortunately, we weren’t the only family being considered, so we had to wait to find out if we would be picked to be their family. In situations like this, the children’s “team” gets together and figure out which family would be best for the children’s needs. To make the decision of who they would be placed with, the team considered all kinds of things, but our “want list” wasn’t really on their minds.
Let me explain a little on that last line. We had already gone through the process of being approved for adoption, so they knew our strengths and weaknesses as a family. We had already made the short list of families that would be a good fit. Going through the matching process isn’t all about what we wanted in our future child (although that is important), it was really about whether our strengths as a family would be a good match for the needs of the child/children. For example, here is a list of reasons why we weren’t matched with some of the children we inquired about, for those of you who are wondering what was taking so long with all the kids waiting to be adopted.
- We aren’t church-going people. We were not matched with a sibling set that we had expressed interest in a few months ago, because that was really important to those kids – to be matched with a family that would go to church with them a few times a week.
- We have lots of animals. One of the kids we would have loved to be matched with was allergic to dogs. Another just didn’t like them.
- We have other children in the home. Some of the kids we asked about behavioral problems bigger than what we were prepared/equipped to deal with, especially considering that we still have a son that could be affected by them.
Although those were specific reasons that we weren’t matched with some of the kids we asked about, there are many other reasons why people don’t get matched with children available for adoption.
- Medical needs of the child
- Activity level of the child. There are many older families/couples looking to adopt that could not keep up with an active toddler, etc
- Experience dealing with behavioral issues
- Potential parent availability for taking the child to appointments, etc
- Potential parents openness to keeping relationships going with birth families such as siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents.
- Race (some children request to be placed with families of their own race/background).
- Some kids want/need to be placed in a two parent family, others want just a mom or a dad.
- There are some kids that want siblings in the family, others that want, or would do better, to be the only child.
I can’t stress enough how much the caseworkers take into consideration what the kids want/need. They don’t just place them in the next available home to get them out of the system.
Anyway, back to our journey. We were waiting for the team to decide which family would be best suited for their needs. It felt like the longest week and a half our our lives. While we tried really hard not to be excited, or start planning out their room and the rest of our lives, we couldn’t help but be hopeful.
Then, on the morning of my birthday, we got the call that we had been chosen. Holy moly! What a birthday present!!
And this is where it gets a little crazy. Normally, there would be a supervised meeting, followed by a few more supervised visits. Then some unsupervised visits and days spent with us. After that, they would have a few overnights and weekends, and finally, they would move in with us. After at least 90 days, we could adopt them permanently.
In this case though, they will be placed directly into our care. Which means they are moving in with us. Like, now. Okay, next week, but you get the picture, yes?
So, we are getting their room ready, figuring out what we need for them, making the necessary preparations to welcome these little girls into our lives/family/home. We have spoken to them a few times on the phone, and they sound absolutely adorable and sweet. We can not wait to meet them and get to know them. We will go to pick them up from where they are this week (not in this state, which is why they are getting placed directly in our care and not in a foster home), spend a few days getting to know them, and then bring them home to begin our new life together.
Of course, in the next several months, there will be lots of involvement from the adoption team, visits and appointments to see how things are going, and that the girls are settling in and happy with us. The girls already have a support team in place here, so they will have all the help they need to transition into our family.
We hope and pray that everything goes smoothly for all of us. So, keep us in your thoughts over the next few months. I’ll update our progress as we go, but I have a feeling we’ll be pretty busy once they get here. I’m nervous and excited, but mostly just can’t wait to get the girls here. My husband is already a big sucker for them – and they aren’t even here yet! My daughter is pretty excited about it – she even offered to switch rooms and help get their room ready/painted. My son is just nervous about adding more girls to the family. I think (eventually) he will like being a big brother for a change. 😛
Do you have any suggestions for making their first weeks here more comfortable? Anyone that has adopted older kids out of the foster system have any words of wisdom you want to pass along to us?
We haven’t had little kids living in the house for a while. I feel a little out of practice. What are 6 and 8 year old girls into nowadays?